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bell tongue

A new collection of poetry by
Paola Bilbrough

Moving through Mexico, Ireland and Asia, each poem in Bell Tongue is a condensed fiction, containing tautly drawn scenes between glimpsed characters.

Sensuous, painterly and rich with detail, Bilbrough's poetry evokes the intimate spaces between people: the illusions and the tenderness we create for one another and for ourselves.

Published by Victoria University Press,
Wellington, New Zealand

Cover design by Kanako Hiramoto

Crossing the Border

A desert in your head,
eyeballs straining away from the skull,
belly a fermenting bog.

Danger has the rancid breath
of a neighbour you always hated.
The moon looks down, swollen as a drowned face.

No one notices as you cross the border,
Your fifteen-year-old self sloughs off,
now you're a stranger who doesn't speak the language.

The jungle yawns, and stretches;
a large dog, coat full of mosquitoes
which buzz about your head, a black halo.

Unconsciously you push towards
a donkey braying, a rooster crowing.
A mythical village changing direction with the wind.

This side of the Burmese border,
night's a coverlet of old dark linen
heavily embroidered with noise.

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